Will removal of religious identity from ID cards stop discrimination in Egypt?

The controversy over including religion in state-issued Egyptian IDs is far from new and so is the attempt to issue a law that omits this slot.

The last of these attempts was by MP Ismail Nasr al-Din who prepared a draft law and secured the signatures of 200 of his fellow MPs, 140 more than the number required to submit a proposal for discussion. The law is based on the modification of article 49 of the Egyptian Civil Code.

The article, included in chapter 7 that regulates the issuing of national identification cards, states that “executive regulations determine the information required for issuing an ID card” and Nasr al-Din proposes adding, “provided that this information does not include religion.”

According to the draft law, citizens are required to issue an official document stating their religion, when they get married, to be submitted to the relevant authorities.

The proposal seems to have garnered considerable support within the House of Representatives even if not by a majority, but this does not in any way guarantee that Nasr al-Din’s argument will defeat the one promoted by the opposing camp.

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